FAQs on the Integrated M.Sc. (Hons) & Dual Degree Programme at BITS Pilani

Note : This document is made moreover to help those who are already students of the university. The data is specific to the Goa Campus.

The Integrated M.Sc. (Hons.) programme (to be referred to as ‘M.Sc.’) is an undergraduate programme that awards one with the above mentioned degree upon completion of the requisite course/research work. The system also permits every student whose first degree corresponds to the above mentioned programme to be entitled to pick and add a ‘dual’ to his programme. That is, one can work towards the completion of two degrees at the same time. Also note that the institute also offers a B.E. (Homs.) programme (to be referred as ‘B.E.’). The list of programmes offered at various campuses can be found here.

This document is made to dispel certain myths that exist surrounding the programme and to raise awareness about the flexibilities that one can make use of. One has to be aware of the system to make use of the flexibilities provided by the same. Some questions in this document are of general nature and might help the B.E. students too (like the PS1 question.)

Let us look at a few factual questions.

 

Q) Is it compulsory to take a dual?

Answer : No. It is not compulsory to take a dual degree. One always has the option to not apply for a dual degree. A dual degree is not mandatory if your first degree is a M.Sc. degree. Nor is it mandatory for people who are enrolled for the B.E. programme.

There is no fixed minimum CGPA / CGPA cutoff or any such requirement to be able to not take a dual. It is a choice that the individual makes. However the number of duals that may be awarded varies, it is based on the number of applicants. Exact statistics are not available.

Comment : Although it is known to increase the course load (this is dealt in detail in the latter part of the document), there is an incredible advantage in taking a dual. It increases one’s scope for interdisciplinary work and hey, if you love Physics, why not make use of this incredible opportunity? Many B.E. (Hons) students have done so in the past ( 2-3 every year), without any regret. A Engineering-Science combo would add to your analytic skills too.

Q) When can I take a dual?

Answers : As of now, the authors are aware of the possibility to take a dual by applying on the portal that is released around April. The flexibility is only provided to freshmen.

Q) What sort of dual combinations are possible?

Answer : There are four types of combinations possible besides the B.E./M.Sc. without a dual.

  1. M.Sc. + M.Sc. (There has been a case, CGPA 8+ should be considered safe)
  2. M.Sc + B.E.  (The standard combination that all are aware of. Minimum eligibility is CGPA 4.5)
  3. B.E. + M.Sc. (People have got it at a 8.02 CGPA)
  4. B.E. + B.E.    (There is a buzz that you get it only at higher up CGPAs, but why not try and see for yourself?)

The difference in order signifies what your first degree is and it defines the order of courses. Do not take our word too seriously for what goes inside a bracket.

 

Q) What if I have already taken a dual? Can I drop it?

Answer : Yes. One can drop his dual degree at any given point of time. Be it a B.E. degree that is a dual or a M.Sc. degree that is a dual. But, it is not possible to drop one’s first degree unless one takes a transfer to another degree programme (vertical transfer is NOT the right term).

 

Q) How is the structure of the M.Sc. course going to be?

Answer : The structure of the M.Sc. course is well defined in the course structure for the combinations of the type (2) and the M.Sc./B.E. single degree.

 

Q) How is the structure of a dual (M.Sc. + B.E.) degree going to be?

Answer : With a traditional (MSc. + B.E.) dual degree, the first degree’s CDCs (Compulsory Disciplinary Courses) are done in 2nd and 3rd year. The second degree’s CDCs start from your 3rd year and continue into the 4th year. This means that you will be doing your second degree CDCs with single degree juniors. The exact course distribution for all possible MSc. + B.E. courses is available here (section IV).

 

While the course distribution for combinations (1), (3) and (4) isn’t put up officially on the BITS website, the pattern is similar.

 

Q) What is the difference of duration between a single degree programme and a dual degree programme?

Answer : The answer varies. The writers of the document would advise one to look at the course structure mentioned in the BITS Bulletin as stated in the above answer.

 

For a quick answer, we would say that a single degree (B.E./M.Sc.) would take one 4 years (8 semesters) to complete with a regular load.

 

For a dual degree, the duration would vary between 5-5.5 years. One thing for sure is that it doesn’t take a person two years to complete a M.Sc. single degree. No, it doesn’t work like 5 years for the dual -4 years for the B.E., usually 1 year for the M.Sc. This is so because one doesn’t have to repeat the foundation courses, the humanities credit requirement doesn’t increase and as the open electives of one degree are filled up as the disciplinary electives of the other (and vice versa).

Q) I see that there are almost no PS stations offering science projects. I have found a summer intern on my own. Can I drop out of PS1?

Answer : Sure! You can. All you need to do is contact PS Division at any point of time before doing your PS1 and fill in a form. You will have to shift to the TS (Thesis and Seminar) option. Under this, you will have no commitment to BITS after your second year but will be expected to do a thesis (duration depending on the number of degrees) instead of a PS2. Note that you won’t be able to do PS2 without a PS1 but you sure can do a Thesis without a PS1.

Q) What is the best ‘dual’ combination?

Answer : Pretty Subjective. It all depends on what you wish to do. A simple Google search connecting two fields will reveal the tremendous overlap and nature of interdisciplinary work that occurs in today’s world.

However, the only common courses between Engineering and Science courses that the authors know of are

  • Electromagnetic Theory I  (Physics, Chemistry, EEE, E&I)
  • Discreet Math (CS, Math)
  • Optimization (Math, most engineering disciplines)

If there are any more overlaps, do bring it to the notice of the authors.

Q) Other institutes offer a Integrated M.Sc. in 5 years time. How does BITS offer one in 4 year’s time?

Answer : Good question. In 2011, BITS benchmarked it’s course structure and content with the top universities in the USA while designing the course structure. A lot of thought was put into the same.

What BITS has done is to reduce (rather, condense) the introductory courses and restrict them to the first year itself. Students begin advanced undergraduate disciplinary courses from the second year onwards. For example, in the Physics programme, one does ‘Classical Mechanics (using Goldstein)’ in the 3rd semester. It is usually taken up in the 3rd/4th year in other integrated M.Sc. programmes or a B.Sc. + M.Sc. programme. Hence, one is able to nearly gain the same amount of knowledge (albeit in a condensed form) as in the M.Sc. programmes in other institutes.

This document is a work in progress. If you have any questions/comments, kindly mail them to f2012234@goa.bits-pilani.ac.in. Thanks to Ashish Baghudana for the inputs.

 

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About Raj Kunkolienkar

I'm a physics grad from the 4 year Integrated M.Sc. programme at BITS, Pilani K K Birla Goa Campus who is interested in Theoretical Physics.
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One Response to FAQs on the Integrated M.Sc. (Hons) & Dual Degree Programme at BITS Pilani

  1. Quite a concise and illuminating article. As a prospective student, this has helped me a great deal more than the Institute’s own website. BITS appears to be a unique institute in India in more than one respect. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this post.

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